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Posts Tagged ‘new african poetry

adventures of a young man
by john otim

Thoughts of Africa
stayed with him
throughout the long flight
to the heart
of the old empire

Up at those altitudes
between those clouds
so dense and white
he marveled at the length
and breadth
of the mighty continent

In a dreamland far away
he heard the pilot
Mount Kenya to the left
and he remembered reading
Jomo Kenyatta’s
Facing Mount Kenya

He thought
with a book like that
the old man deserved
the presidency
of his country

Soon the mountains
of Addis
and the Red Sea
were behind
how faithful
to the maps

Presently they entered
the desert
heat rose from the sands
and hit them
in the plane
how massive
the desert
that first sight
took his breath away

Old Davis poor fellow
struggled in class
sans internet
sans power point
to convey as well
he might
the sense of the octopus

Darkness was approaching
when they approached
the ancient land
of Akhenaton
and Queen Nefertiti

Now serene under
the cover of night
void of the turmoil
sweat and blood
it knew all these
long years

Presently they crossed
the Mediterranean
dark and sullen
in the night
filled with secrets
from time without end

On the other side
lay Europe
a glittering sea of light
a tapestry of gold
and silver
a crown of jewels

Was that the reason
they called Africa
the heart of darkness
so dazzling
in every way
thoughts of Africa

A voice on the intercom
the pilot announced
the approach
to the heart of Europe
the old
capital of the world

The airport was massive
a sea of white faces
and dark uniforms
silent as the night
work to be done

They traversed long passages
that move under you
that run with you

Finally out on streets
where once carouse
great statesmen of empire
where now youth

He drove through
the old capital
he saw buildings
old and moldy
the old palace
where still lived
the Monarch
was only a big house

The Monarch
living in this ordinary town
where beggars beg
and garbage
litter streets

The Monarch
who travels abroad
covered in pageantry
and splendor
Who dined and wined
with heroes of uhuru
and assorted
usurpers of power
of sate coffers
marauders of the land

On and on they drove
through streets crowded
with shoppers
pleasure seekers
till at last
they approached
the dream campus

The dream campus
lay miles away
tacked in groves
a wonderland
where past and present
come together
in a celebration
of harmony

Picture book edges of greens
lined the avenues
of learning
manicured loans
elegant structures
modern and classical
sprung like fairies
out of woodlands

Parklands and playfields
shrubs and flowers
water fountains
spirited youths
hurried professors
with camcorders

They drove slowly
through the fairyland
on and on he goes
the seconds tick the time out
and the thought
occurred to him

Here on this
dream campus
should abide the monarch
in the company
of these happy youth

“Young ones shouldn’t be afraid
young ones should be together
I love you and you love me
Oh my darling can’t you see
Young world shouldn’t be afraid”
Cliff Richard

Finally the car turned
and glided
onto the grounds
of a magnificent structure
glass and steel
laid in a garden

The superintendent
a dapper man in suit and tie
looked like he drank all
from the fountains
of knowledge
he took him
to his new quarters

Specious rooms
a striking view
of the famous river
he encountered
geography lessons
long ago

His spirits rose
in his eyes
a light shone
he was at peace
with the world
on his lips
a melody

“Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind”
Aretha Franklin

copyright john otim 2011

author note – john otim taught crative writint at ahmadu bello university, zaria, nigeria


poetry by john otim


Have you seen her

there by the market gate
there where children play
where beggars seek alms
where men relieve themselves

there where the swamp
and the stench
in the heat of noon
could overpower

there one cool evening
as the glory from the east
sprayed golden rays
and dazzled the world

Read the rest of this entry »

poetry by john otim


Angel of the morning

In the middle of a perfect afternoon
his head was a mess of greasy locks
his breath was doused
with the aroma of stale alcohol

he glanced at the glory by my side
she shot back and saw now
the woman by his side
they hated each other instantly

we hurried away and the girl said
what mean folks!
can’t even pay simple bills

for their home was in a mess
sans water sans power
overrun with garbage
and litter

the next day on the corridors of learning
he accosted  me
what did you see in that ugly girl?

that evening I looked again
at my new girl
the angel that came to me
in the morning

and I saw again those lips
those eyes
angel of the morning
john otim